by Ron Spence
NHLPA executive director Paul Kelly was spouting the party line, but then toned it down:
“Glenn [Healey] just wanted Ryan to understand that sometimes we make public comments that might get misinterpreted to the extent he was encouraging other players to take pay cuts. That’s not a message that he wants to present. I think Ryan and Glenn worked it out…
In a cap system , it’s a little bit different because you have those tensions of there is so much of a pie that has to be divided amongst a locker room of players. So I understand what Ryan and Alex Burrows tried to communicate and that people may have taken those comments a little bit differently than the way they had intended…
I think they were trying to make comments that were positive for the team. They want to see a future of winning here in Vancouver. That was the spirit of those comments and I don’t begrudge Ryan what-so-ever.”
Paul Kelly knows the score.
Marian Hossa publicly stated that he was going to the Red Wings – last July – for less money so that he would have a good chance of winning the Stanley Cup.
And it’s well know that Brooks Orpik, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin took less money to hold the Pens together.
Mike Babcock also made reference to home town player discounts after game seven.
The history of professional sports is littered with excellent players – Dale Murphy, Walter Payton, Marcel Dionne, etc. – who have been stars on often weak teams – playing great ball out in the wilderness.
A number of unrestricted free agent hockey players have to decide next week whether it’s the money, or playing in a winning culture that’s important.
And maybe hoisting the Stanley Cup.
Daniel and Henrik have to look at the tradeoff between – a 5 to 10% top up of their total career earnings – or the chance to win the Cup – whether they should leave some money on the table so that their team can acquire other good players.